I am definitely a believer in a bit of self disclosure. Some therapists are not, but if you haven’t already discovered from watching my videos and reading my blog posts, I am. Lately I’ve been a bit out of sorts, even a little down. This could be for a million reasons, some of which I am about to list.
First, here in Philadelphia, the weather has started to get cold, (it even snowed this past weekend.) Second, the holidays are coming and third, I haven’t exercised/had my endorphin fix for a least a month.
The point is, I’ve noticed that I haven’t been myself. I’ve been telling myself all sorts of disapproving things and allowing that negativity to drown me. So I looked in the mirror and literally said out loud, ” you haven’t been practicing the thing that you tell people to do every day!” I haven’t been practicing self-compassion!
Self Compassion Defined:
According to a study regarding the role self-compassion plays in romantic relationships, self compassion is, “being kind, caring, and understanding towards oneself when feelings of suffering are present—suffering that stems either from uncontrollable life events or from personal flaws and failings (2012, Neff & Beretvas, 2).”
The takeaway from this is that instead of criticizing yourself, (e.g. that little voice in your head that tells you, you are worthless,) understand that you are only human. All humans fail and make mistakes, and no life experiences are perfect for anyone (therapists included.)
How to practice SC:
One way you can practice self compassion is through having interactions with people you trust. Instead of isolating yourself from others when you’re feeling down, self compassion actually helps you reach out.
I connected with two of my other friends this week and told them what I was experiencing. You know what the great thing was? They didn’t shame me or make me feel worse. They helped boost me up and told me that they have felt the same at times.
Self-Compassion’s Role in Love and Relationships
Self-compassion plays an enormous role in love and relationships. Not only is it strongly related to to psychological well-being, but people who have high levels of self compassion are also more likely to resolve conflicts using compromise as well as be more true to themselves and their romantic partner. People who are high in self compassion are able to balance their own needs and their partners better and when people are kind to themselves, they are also more likely to be kind to their partners.
So the next time you feel like a failure, or you question your worthiness, please give yourself a break. Acknowledge that no human is perfect, and that you deserve to be happy. Just be yourself, judgement free.
Kristin D. Neff & S. Natasha Beretvas (2012): The Role of Self-compassion in
Romantic Relationships, Self and Identity, DOI:10.1080/15298868.2011.639548